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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

“Honey, Did You Remember the Ho-Ho’s?”

A blog like dyslexic lite beer — it tastes filling, but it’s less great!

I’m no fan of grocery stores.

(Actually, I typo’d that the first time and wrote ‘grovery stores’, which would’ve made the sentence a lie, a damned lie, and perhaps even a statistic. I’ve honestly never been to a Grover-y Store, but I imagine it’d be pretty cool as long as that damned Strangle-Me-Elmo bitch wasn’t there, too. Shouldn’t Oscar have been all up in his bidness by now? Somebody needs to stick their hand wayyyy up in that little red pecker’s neck and turn him inside out already. He’s like a little sunburned Pillsbury Dough Boy — all ‘Hoo hoo!’ and ‘Ha hah!’ But I digress…)

Anyhoo — grovery grocery stores. My typing is not what it used to be (three hours ago, even). As much as I hate to harp on a theme twice in one day, what with the foody thing I wrote earlier, grocery stores are on my mind, so that’s where we’re shovin’ off from, mateys. We’ll see what patch of jagged rocks we crash on when we get there.

(So, back to ‘foody’ for a tick. If I’ve got this right — and I’m not botherin’ to look it up, so presume that I do — then ‘foody’ is the quality of being food, or food-like. But ‘foodie’, on the other hand, is some flamboyant character who wears ruffles and scarves and affects some sort of quasi-European accent, if s/he doesn’t own one already. Oh, and likes food, yes. Definitely the food thing; that’s part of the whole package. Very important, no doubt.

“It’s strong enough for a man, but shaved into a butter sauce, it makes a nice couscous alternative.”

But I like the pattern — ‘-y’ means you are like something, but ‘-ie’ means you are a fan of it. Foody. Foodie. Cool! But I think we should get more words in on this. There are lots of words out there that aren’t quite doing it right. Like crappy and crappie. Okay, so crappie’s a fish, and I suppose fish do like to poop, and eat it, and spend their lives swimming in the stuff, so maybe that’s not the best example. But how about ‘sleepie’? How long do we have to wait to get that approved? Or ‘beerie’? Now there’s a word that needs a good home. Where are the wordsmiths when we need ’em, huh? ‘Beefie’. I’m just pullin’ ’em outta the air here; how hard can it be? Or ‘sexie’. Do I have to do everybody’s job around here?)

So. Where the hell was I? Grocery stores. All righty.

Yeah, so grocery stores and I have never really gotten along. I’m not sure why; all it has is food, and I like food. I eat it almost every day, sometimes two or three times.

(Is that wrong?)

But it’s just such a hassle to go to the store, and then find a cart, and walk down the aisles, and kick that old lady’s ass who also wants the last gallon of skim milk. And Jehovah help me if I’ve been given a list of some sort as a guide. Now, if I wrote the list myself, then it’s cool — I know what the hell I meant when I wrote it, and there’s only one kind of Chee-tos to begin with, so I’m on top of it.

But if my wife (or any other sane person) actually hands me a pre-made list? Well, these days I just save time and start bleeding from the ears right there on the spot. No need to go through the whole process again. It’s impossible to shop from someone else’s list — absolutely non-doable. Like a nun, it can’t be done. Take spinach, for instance.

(No, really, take it far away to some Fourth World country and burn it. And then bury it, piss on the grave, dig it up, yell at it, and throw it back in.)

Anyway — let’s say I’m sent to the store for the usual suspects — pomegranates, cod liver oil, utility shears, unagi… you know, the staples of everyday living. So, now let’s say I see spinach on the list, down there between the ostrich eggs and the Gold Bond. Well, what the hell do I do then? There’s fresh spinach, and leafy spinach, and frozen spinach, and spinach dips, and cans of spinach and spinach soup and spinach ice cream and spinach juice and spinach pasta and spinach waffles, and how am I supposed to know what ‘spinach’ means? Or ‘navel oranges’, for that matter? Or ’12 oz. can of Campbell’s tomato soup’? I’m just one man, for cryin’ out loud! So I play it safe — I just buy one of any product that could conceivably be referred to as the item that’s on my list. Or rhymes with it, or starts with the same letter. Or has a clown on the box. So I come home with three thousand dollars’ worth of crap that nobody wants, and suddenly Saturday afternoon is gone, and sometimes Sunday morning, too. Where’s the fun in that?

(I mean, if I’m gonna spend my whole weekend in a place where I’m expected to squeeze the occasional melon, then there at least ought to be some music and dancing and fireman’s poles around. Is that really asking for too much?)

What I really miss is this whole free-delivery Internet grocer thingamabob. That shit was cool! You sit at your computer — where you’re gonna end up, anyway — and click on your colas (or sodas, or pops, or Cokes, or fizzies, or whatever the hell you happen to call it in your neck of the planet), and your frozen microwave burritos, and your Ho-Ho’s, and then you hit send, and a few hours later some friendly dude who won’t let you tip him shows up at your door with a bunch of someone else’s groceries. It was like the Christmas present you always get from that senile aunt you have that lives far away somewhere — you never quite knew what you were gonna get, but it sure as hell wasn’t gonna be what you asked for. But it’d be delivered right to your door, you’d at least get it in the month or so after you expected it, and you could probably eat it if you got desperate enough. So we ended up with a lot of other people’s Brussels sprouts, and pickle relish, and Secret roll-on antiperspirant deodorant (which, incidentally, ended up being the best tasting of the three. It’s strong enough for a man, but shaved into a butter sauce, it makes a nice couscous alternative.) But sadly, all of the online grocers around here started charging a fee for the privilege of having your menu scrambled into a state of higgledy-piggledy by their parsimonious produce packers, so we moved on.

I suppose we’re better off, in the end. Now we get just the little packets of carcinogens and acrylamide that we want, not some batch of tofu crap ordered by the health goobers next door. Of course, now we have to look the cashier in the eye as Twinkie after Twinkie slides across the pricer and down the chute, like some hedonistic wet-dream waterslide. But my wife tends to take care of that. She makes the lists, you see — well, she has to. I’m not allowed near the kitchen anymore, since the… unpleasantness. (I still say that dogs can regrow toenails, but we’ll find out for sure in a couple more weeks. Maybe if they come back, the dog will stop looking at me like that all the time.) So I’m allowed to get my sippy cup out of the fridge, but for anything else, I need oven mitts and adult supervision.

(The former of which make it much harder to unroll my Ho-Ho’s as I eat them, I have to admit… and no, ‘unrolling my Ho-Ho’s’ is not a euphemism. Well, it will be now, but it wasn’t when I wrote it. Fun!)

So that’s that. Actually, my wife’s at the store tonight, and I think I hear her coming back now, with her grocery bags full of yummy goodness (again, not a euphemism). I’d better go find my wallet (unlike the lackeys from the store who used to deliver, she happily accepts tips, and happily kicks me in the shins if I don’t pony up). Then I’ll strap on my oven mitts and head downstairs to help. I just hope she didn’t get spinach waffles again…

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